15 Insights To Photographing Felines


15 Insights To Photographing Felines

Photographing felines is not like photographing kids or dogs. Judging by the volume of Facebook and YouTube posts, they are popular, though! A lot of those pictures are pretty impressive; I will show you some approaches to getting that level of images.

A friend watching me photograph one of the kitties observed it was like the military slogan, “Hurry up to wait; then chaos ensues!”


There will always be, like any subject, moments of pure luck like my photo of Tenero on the Tuscan stairs. Tenero sat on that step as I photographed our model Consuelo. If your cat does something during the day and your camera happened to be in your hand or close by you will get an amazing shot. As a professional, we need to be ready, set things up, then have a plan.

These approaches are the ones I used in getting the images that earned the PPOC Feline Accreditation award.


Here are the insights and tips that will help you get great images every time out.

1) Get ready in advance. Set up your lights and environment before you bring your cat into it

2) If it’s a new place for them, like your studio, allow time for them to explore, to feel safe, there.

3) Have all your “distractions” handy: Treats, toys, laser pointers, balls of string and props. Have lots of creative props. Don’t forget the water dish.

4) Pick backgrounds that compliment them; that they won’t disappear in. Keep them simple, not distracting. All black or a high key seamless like Tasha our tiger cub makes them both pop while being timeless

5) Either get down to their level or bring them up to yours. We did that with our lion’s head shot.

6) Extreme camera angles, like shooting straight down from above with Lucy creates an unusual, unexpected point of view.

Lion cub

7) Have patience, like the cat giving the camera a yawn.

8 )Use a shallow depth of field. This isolates your cat’s expression.

9) Have someone to help you; getting your feline’s attention can be a challenge by your self.

10) Set up an entire theme set. We did that with Beans in the hayloft.

11) Doing subtle things like a mirror floor or contrasting colored toy, like the kitten with the ball of string creates some interaction, a story, with in the image.

12) Use a long lens, this helps with your depth of field but it gives you some distance from your cat. Makes them less nervous.


13) Give them lots of breaks, being photographed can be annoying for cats.

14) Most cats will do nearly anything for favorite treats. Hide the ones you are not using, only give out small morsels at a time.

15) Give your self some space, both in the set and in your camera cropping. It will make your postproduction composition much easier.

The biggest thing is to have fun, play with them, after all that is the whole point of photographing pets. You should see the joy in the subjects. Be ready for a few challenges and some surprises along with the rush of getting amazing images.Lucy

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